Redbull Challenge 2013 - sneak preview

Our qualifier entry for the 2013 Redbull Creation contest is due in a few days! We've been soldering, machining, welding, and coding all week.

Check out these pics:

Hint: it flies, and the whole thing weighs about 50lbs.



Custom burger tools and putting the pieces together

Here's another interesting project from this week.  We had a small business owner approach us for help building a custom burger tool for his gourmet food truck, Burger Monster.

He drew the design up in Google Sketchup, had the main piece 3D printed, and then needed to make the stainless steel parts.

We sent him over to Schorr Metals for the some scrap, food-grade stainless steel, and McFadden-Dale Industrial Hardware for the rest. After cutting out the 6" diameter burger press, TIG welding a stainless, 3/8" bolt to it, and lathe turning a 12mm-to-3/8" nylon bushing, we have this:

The Burger Monster Press, version 1.0

For reference, 1/8" stainless is easy to cut out on a horizontal band saw, then smooth out with files and grinder. This is also easy to TIG weld.

The 3D print you see here is easily within our capability range at the shop. A better model would have had less polygon artifacts, but this one works fine.



Holy ABS plastic, Batman!

Look what showed up in the mail this morning...

I think this means we need to do more 3d printing.
Come on by May 5th at Noon, and we'll have a class on how to use this fine tool.



Pot Luck 4/20/2013

For those who missed the pot luck last Saturday, here are some of the highlights:

Walter Clark brought in his Wimshurst Machine and did a very interesting demonstration of static electricity and electric fields. Most of the things we think of as electrical use magnetic and electromagnetic effects. Static electricity only shows up in a few modern devices, such as the electrometer dosimeter.

Here's Tayopa cranking the machine.

Also included in the demo was a simple foil electrometer that could either acquire a charge (when touched to the non-grounded terminal of the machine) or detect the charge when brought near.

The sparks from this thing are also impressive. The breakdown voltage of air is 10-30,000V per cm. So the machine is generating over 25KV in potential.

Next, we had the usual potluck stuff, including an awesome dinner and clown bike rodeo.

And we fixed Tim's early 1980s Roland Piano 70 synth keyboard. This one was kind of tricky - we checked the DC power system, used a scope and signal generator to check out the amp stages, and finally figured out that the oscillator boards weren't working.

Going over these again with a multimeter, we discovered that the 3 virtually identical boards did not have identical voltages on the 2 power rails. A close look revealed a corroded trace and a couple of bad solder joints on the +15V rail.  Fixed!

One other thing: One of our mysterious neighborhood characters left a baggie in the parking lot with a bit of crystalline residue. We put it under the microscope at about 25X before disposing. Can you ID this mystery substance? Is it sugar? Is it crack?

A couple of notes on taking pictures through a microscope: If you don't have a scope with a camera port (we don't) then your best bet is to use a longer lens or zoom setting and manually focus at infinity.

When you have that done, disable the flash, set a high ISO and put the camera right up to the objective. This one was done with a 90mm equivalent lens, ISO 1000. Was very easy.



HABEX2 - High Altitude Balloon Recovered!

Two weeks ago, 23b and Nullspace Labs collaborated on a high-altitude balloon launch, HABEX2.
Nullspace ran the launch and built the main payload, while 23b supplied a backup RDF tracker and managed the recovery effort.

It was launched from Iron age Road, in the Mojave Desert, CA.   We received digital telemetry during the flight, and our team took periodic direction-finding shots from multiple locations, using a 70cm beacon and Yagi antennas.

After reaching an altitude of approximately 77,000', it burst a bit early and landed right in the middle of the Turtle Mountains Wilderness Area.

Unfortunately, there are no motorized vehicles allowed in this area, and recovery was complicated by the fact that: 1. The area is comprised of extremely rugged volcanic mountains and 2. The last known position from APRS broadcasts and RDF hits occurred about 5 minutes before touchdown, meaning that we would only have an approximate location to work with.

Here are some pictures of the launch:

The recovery trip ended up comprising around 500 miles of driving, an off-road trip down an old mine road, and a 16 mile total hike.

Success! Arko was able to recover all of the pictures and data from the flight:

Check out:
Flight Pictures (full set)



Red Bull Creation qualifier

We got the box of parts from Red Bull, here are some pics.  We have to make something awesome and interactive with light.  They sent us a custom board with arduino hardware on it, some screw header terminals, 2 RGB LED ropes, and a lightbox.   Any ideas about what you would like to see made with these ingredients?


23b Shop Psychic Defense Briefing
Mid Q2, 2013

PHOTO: One advanced hybrid component of the 23b Shop Automated Defensive System Project, wielding one of the numerous razor-sharp implements available at all times for ready brandishing.  (Note his unusual inward-facing stance, which indicates that he is currently protecting the outside world from the release of shop inhabitants.)

(Ed. note: Apologies if the tech level is a little higher than we normally present in our "recent shop events" postings, but this was an in-depth investigation and we have a lot of useful research findings. -Dano)
1.  Primary research

The stylish headgear in this photo is much more than it appears at first glance.  Made by hand from proprietary .003" NASA FOIL in 304 stainless steel, this imposing piece of modern psychic armor is folded from a single, geometrically perfect, seamless square using a fusion of ancient Origami techniques and sculptural pinch folding.  No cutting or other modifications to the original square except for folding were allowed, to prevent potential gaps in cerebral coverage.

This headgear shields the user not only from dangerous inbound mind scans and gamma field mind control rays so prevalent in modern urban areas, but also presents passive interference to unwanted thoughts and internal influences by virtue of finite subharmonic design principles used in the dome shaping.

The unique microcorrugations were pressed into the material at manufacturing time. They are distributed in a bisymmetrical, isometric Leyden lattice of approximately 4.1mm granularity per current research in passive homomorphous brain waveguides, and have been statistically useful in our recent research on the influence of user thought patterns.  In this case, we are seeing the subject's normally fierce demeanor attenuated (albeit only slightly, at an estimated level of Cb=0.031, in the moment of this photo) via implantation of hybridized kitten-based thoughtform images.

The cerebellar shielding (not visible in this image) prevents low-level attacks against the reptilian hindbrain while still allowing basic bodily functions even during constant low-level external mind influence probes, Baissan-field scanning, and VX cloud manipulation.

2. Unexpected results

As measured by the diminishing population of acceptable subjects to be found in the shop's dumpsters and surrounding abandoned areas, our old invasive "electrode twiddling" methods didn't allow us to keep subjects functional for long.  It's not like you've burned out a 15 amp car fuse; we're hard pressed just to pay the B-waste fee to recycle the burned out minds of unsuccessful subjects. Even despite these troubled times, our local scrap scavengers are not likely to pick up our old test subjects, so they pile up outside, causing unwanted questions and attention.

Control of the autonomic functions of the subject can be instigated by uptake inhibition of sardon flow, as has been discussed exhaustively in the hackerspace community. (Search it yourself, i'm not going to waste space with links for something so easy to find).  However, this is the first time we have had such dramatic success with noninvasive procedures. 

The helical cornuvortices (the "horns" present near the lateral forebrain) are shown to be effective in damping the sardon flow from the pituitary region via the special focus chevron in the reverse Brazilian style frontpiece. This is key. The sardon damping pattern is further shaped via the focused deep-channel tuning antennas, visible as tuned wire arcs around the sides and lower portion of the headgear. What a vast, vast improvement we've seen over the old style "tinfoil hats", with their expensive and fiddly platimum foil probes inserted directly into the area surrounding the pituitary gland!

We're glad to avoid the liability and mess in this kind of research, not to mention that our bill for hydrogen peroxide to clean up the implant area of the shop was getting to be more than the cost of electricity for running the Imbridge field generator to quiet down the subjects in the cage area.

Waveguide research of the last 40 years obviously figured prominently into this design, and we can proudly claim that we are on the forefront, nay the bleeding edge, of cornuvortex research here at the 23b Shop.  We are also proud that we have lost 7% fewer research participants to gibbering madness in 2012-13 over our previous research years!

Build time was approximately two of your Earth hours. By the April potluck, we are hoping to have Arduino-based will-damping implemented in the cerebral stack.

?Future plans?
- Possibly an adiagetic sound implanter hooked up to Skype
      easy verbal remote control of the subject ("God-mode")

- Stream videos direct to the user's visual processing complex (VPC)
      more subtle and purpose-driven control and takeaction processing

- Stream videos from the subject
      useful for monitoring the shop status
      doing livecasts of talks
      stuntcam, etc

- Security drone clown bike with a live controller/actuator component

- Build API for control from existing open-source shop security system

- Charlieplexing-- can we control multiple areas of the brain with fewer pins?

- The dongle controller has been suspended for now.

Thanks to the Rice Underground Walk/Swim Team and Go-fast Institute for their invaluable assistance in conducting this exciting and informative research. We couldn't do it without the support and inspiration of our many colleagues, materials procurers, and affiliated research groups.


This cloud chamber was made with a gallon glass jar, an aluminum plate, silicone caulk to attach them together, a couple of sponges, and a plexiglass lid. There is a foil electrode in the jar which is not visible in the video, charged to 300 volts (AC, i think) with an external power supply. This prevents the vapor trails from lingering, and allows the new trails to be more visible.

We poured 99% isopropyl alcohol into the sponges, which are attached at the top of the jar.  The jar is attached to the plate and the plate rests on 2 blocks of dry ice ($6) from the ice cream distributor down the block.

 The radioactive mineral sample in the jar emits particles which leave ionization trails behind. The trails act as seeds for the supersaturated alcohol vapor -- you can see the little lines of vapor appearing in the space around the rock.  It takes 15 to 30 minutes to get cold enough for trails to show, and the dry ice we used would allow it to operate for about 6 to 10 hours. 

This is a cheap and easy experiment that shows you something really interesting that happens around us all the time.  We will definitely be making a larger chamber with an insulated dry ice compartment and a larger viewing area.